Bay Area Growers Hope to Trademark Pot Strains

United States Patent and Trademark Office briefly offered new category for pot

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:41 PM PDT
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While the Harborside Health Center has trademarked its name, growers of the strains it offers aren't allowed the same privelege.

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Tartukan Death Weed™? Yes, that was one of the names for a marijuana strain that somebody sent in a trademark application for this year.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office reportedly starting offering a new category for medical marijuana trademarks on April 1st -- and while the federal agency closed the category last week, the serious statement in response suggest that it wasn't just a highly involved practical joke.

"It has come to our attention that as a result of the state of the law regarding medical marijuana, there may be issues regarding whether trademark applicants with medical marijuana products and services can establish lawful use in interstate commerce," a spokesperson for the USPTO told the Wall Street Journal.

That hasn't stopped Oakland's Harborside Health Center from trademarking the company's name, and seeking to trademark its logo.

Executive Director Steve DeAngelo, however, doesn't think that particular brands of pot are reliable enough to trademark, however.

"I don't think it is technically feasible to trademark a strain of cannabis because as of now there is no objective, scientific method of verifying that any particular patch of cannabis is a particular strain," DeAngelo told the Marin Independent Journal.

However, companies have controversially patented genes, so maybe growers are just filling out the wrong form and should be trying to patent hybrids instead.

Jackson West wonders when Monsanto is going to get into the weed business.

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